by Dave Segal
on Wed, Apr 24, 2013 at 10:31 AM
(Barboza) Once best known for her maniacal technical flamboyancy on the guitar, which involved tapping it like a stenographer on meth, Marnie Stern has toned down her fretboard hysteria on her last two albums, Marnie Stern and The Chronicles of Marnia. Where she used to challenge Battles' Ty Braxton and Ian Williams for math-rock complexity and velocity supremacy, she now channels her restless energy into composing songs with more blatantly beautiful melodies and slightly slower tempos. Her playing retains that percolating radiance and sugary clamor, but the songs they're servicing sound more like an anxiety-stricken Blonde Redhead than an estrogenic Hella. Tonight you'll probably get to revel in both of Stern's phases.